‘Anagamania’ -24- 蹴轆轤 Ballantyne’s Kickwheel

Siberian chill in the air, but I could find a few signs of spring in my secret woods. My kiln-site has survived through winter wind blows and I should be able to put myself in full action really soon. As I am not keen on inviting visitors here to my kiln-site normally, so far my wife and James Hazlewood (a good friend of mine) are the visitors I am happy to have from time to time.

Yet I had rather special guests to my woods in the afternoon last Saturday. David Ballantyne’s son and daughter who would particularly like to see their father’s kickwheel. Steve is an architect lives in Tring and Candy is a furniture designer works in London. Both must have inherited their father’s talent. I found that their talk and questions were forcused and very precise not only about the kickwheel but also on my Anagama ‘Moby’. Later in that afternoon, I took them to Murray Fieldhouse (he’s 90 now) who personally knew more about their father well. It seemed they found something they didn’t know previously.
I have been living and working in Tring for almost 2 decades, after leaving Highgate in London for my wood-fire pottery. I didn’t know David Ballantyne’s son was living in the same town for 15 years and also worked as the governor of Grove Road Primary school in Tring for 10 years.
His family is currently planning to launch a new website for late father (1913~1990) and that’s why Steve found me and contacted through this blog. I will let all you know the new website on David Ballantyne when it is officially launched. What a coincidence!?!

Steve told me that he has never seen a brass turntableI on father’s wheel as usually they were made of alluminum and my wheel could be one of the earliest models. And I also learnt that many potters used to call Ballantyne’s wheel ‘the Rolls-Royce of the kickwheels’ in the 50’s and 60’s and Michael Cardew took one to Africa when he was working in Nigeria.
[I would like to thank James Hazlewood for taking those lovely photos of my wheel last summer]

About Gas

Hi, I am a wood-fire potter, living and working in the Japanese tradition in Tring, Hertfordshire (UK). Following mediaeval potter's wisdom, I design and build simple wood-fired kilns called 'anagama' for long period of firing and 'raku-gama' for quick (glazed tea bowl) firing. My anagama firing usually takes 9 - 10 days.
This entry was posted in anagamania, kiln-site (kamaba) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘Anagamania’ -24- 蹴轆轤 Ballantyne’s Kickwheel

  1. candy ballantyne says:

    Hi Gas, I hope your firing in Aberystwyth is going well. We’re hoping to get the David Ballantyne website launched on 11th July – the 25th anniversary of his death.

  2. Gas says:

    Many thanks for letting me know your latest news. I am back from my workshop in Aberystwyth and getting ready for another kiln building in Wiltshire next week.
    I would be delighted to share the David Ballantyne website launched on 11th July – the 25th anniversary of his death. Do keep in touch please!! (Gas)

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